Brand Strategy for a Start-up

Strategic Planning
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Mellacheruvu Adi Saasthry
Director, India

Brand Strategy for a Start-up

How critical it is to include a Brand in the Strategy for a start-up Company?
How can this be carried out while the founders are focusing on grabbing a first business deal? What steps are to be carried out to create a brand? What are the most critical process steps to create a brand? Is there a framework/model?


Sujeet James Sarwan
Training Head, India

A Brand is Important for Startups

Startup companies, and even technology-based companies are more and more realizing what consumer packaged goods companies have known since 1900: brand names are important; so important they are often a company’s most valuable intellectual asset. However, many companies do not have the resident brand name development expertise required to do a good job on this important strategic issue. Here are a few guidelines to use when conceptualizing and naming new products and services.
Ultimately every product gets a name . . . a number, a code, something, so why not give it a good name: a name that helps get and keep customers.
Do not use the product or service category as the brand name. For example, “high resolution television” or “low-cal ice cream” are not brand names; they are modifiers of a brand name.
Don't name the product with an acronym, especially an acronym that is an abbreviation for internal jargon.
Whether you “like” or dislike the brand name is not a criteria for choosing the name.
Brand naming is not a popularity contest among managers.
Brand names don't have to mean something. Examples: Kodak, Bose , Wills..
The primary criteria for a brand name is the product’s positioning. Positioning is, in itself, an intellectual marketing exercise of the highest order. Many marketing industry companies, particularly advertising agencies, do not really understand the concept of positioning. Beware of descriptions of product features masquerading as positioning statements. Positioning starts with an understanding of your target segment; and knowing your customer’s perception of competitive substitutes.
Consequently, when judging whether a proposed brand name is “on or off strategy” you are really judging the name against a very carefully constructed and customer tested positioning statement.
Brand names that link the product to a product category or benefit set are good.
Examples: Huggies, Body shop, Quick fix, Air France, Hotmail, Dettol.
Brand names should be memorable, pronounceable, legally available and readable.
Sometimes a brand name that is non traditional for a product category or industry will stand out and reduce the cost of creating awareness. Examples: Wipro Computer, Classic Cigarettes , Rediff !.
A good brand name will not sell a bad product.
But a good product with lots of marketing support can build a so-so brand name into a franchise.
Always test a brand name for negatives.
Certain words trigger unexpected customer negatives. The wrong word could trigger confusion, distaste, or anti-use sentiments.
For example, a proposed brand name, “Stick-it”, for a glue pencil caused some prospective customers to think of needles, stabbing, and less-than-polite street talk. The proposed brand name, “Pop Tails”, for a soda flavored alcoholic beverage confused customers. They didn’t know if the product was a soda pop or a mixed cocktail.
Arena to ponder upon … Your brand is permanent. It consistently reinforces the appropriate messages to your key audiences. A brand is the core identity of your company. It is what appears on the bottom of your ad and represents the personality that goes to the heart of your positioning. Your brand is bigger than any advertising, public relations or direct mail campaign you will ever do. It is the one thing that doesn't change.
Therefore what I need to answer is what I communicate to my consumer does he receive the same set of values, does it address his needs if yes then I am a Great company.


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